Three Gen Z Trends for 2019

It’s 2019 – a new year, but for many in marketing, the same challenges remain. One of which is how to reach that elusive teen audience. Here are a few of the key areas that brands should be keeping an eye on when it comes to connecting with Gen Z this year.

Gear up for Gaming

Snapchat’s 2019 predicted trends report zeroed in on gaming as an area to watch this year, particularly for a Gen Z audience.

“When we take a look at Gen Z specifically, games teens predict to increase in popularity are Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Red Dead Redemption 2.” stated the report, which you can view in full here. “Gaming is an especially important trend for teen males, who listed it as one of their top 3 trends for the new year.”

The platform is also tapping into people’s competitive side with the recent launch of Lens Challenges. The ‘challenge’ format is already popular on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram; Snap’s version allows users to use a special SnapchatLens to complete a task, which can then be featured for the app’s community. You can read more about the format here on The Verge, including details on its musical festive challenge.

How to use it: Brands should consider whether adding an element of gamification to their marketing could help them reach a younger audience, tapping into teens’ competitive side.

Escapism, Tech-Style

According to Facebook IQ’s 2019 Topics and Trends report, younger audiences are “hungry for emotionally resonant, stress-relieving experiences”. In today’s digital age, this often manifests itself in activities like watching social gaming sites such as Twitch, tuning into livestreams on social platforms or falling down the YouTube rabbit hole.

The report also highlights the growth in conversation about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – a two-fold increase in 2018. It explains:

Videos that stimulate Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – a tingling sensation set off by audio-visual triggers like whispering or tapping – are mesmerizing viewers, and the most popular have collected millions of views. Celebrity-hosted clips are helping to normalize this habit.”

How to use it: Brands who have been focused on quick-win, short-form content on digital channels should consider adding elements of long-form content, to evoke a more emotional response from their audience.

Tune in to Social Music

Many of the major social platforms have boosted their offering when it comes to music. In October it was revealed that Facebook was working on an app called Lasso, where users can record and share videos of themselves lip syncing or dancing to popular songs. A few weeks ago, Instagram announced that question stickers can now be used to share music and (as mentioned above) Snapchat has introduced an augmented reality lip-syncing ‘Challenge’ lens – perhaps in a move to pull users over from popular teen app TikTok.

Social music was a trend highlighted by GlobalWebIndex in its 2019 Social Trends report:

“We’re beginning to see what Facebook’s strategy for its music-licensing deals will be; not an independent streaming service, but a way to entice teens back to their platform and capitalize on the trend of sharing music-enhanced content.”

How to use it: Brands should make sure they are up to date with the latest music offerings across all platforms; no doubt there will be more developments this year. It’s early days for most brand activity in these areas, but opportunities will come and the most forward-thinking businesses will be able to benefit early.